For an honest broker: On Russia and India-China ties

News: Recently, the Russian President visited India for 21st India – Russia Annual summit.

Read more: India-Russia summit recognised that each needs the other, and that the drift in bilateral ties needs to be arrested
Talks about China during the visit

During the visit, India’s problems with Chinese aggression were raised. In return, Russia ensured to hold a trilateral summit of the leaders of Russia, India and China (RIC) in the near future.

What are the challenges in the holding RIC meeting?

Earlier, the RIC Summit occurred on the sidelines of the Osaka G-20 summit in 2019. Along with the Modi-Xi Mamallapuram summit, the RIC meet also ensured peaceful coexistence and growth between the neighbours. But much has been changed since then. These include,

1. China’s aggression at the Line of Actual Control: It dented the hopes of peaceful coexistence and growth, 2. No face to face meeting between Indian and Chinese leaders since 2019: Due to issues in LAC, they have not spoken directly, even though they attended the same multilateral summits (BRICS, SCO, G-20, etc.), 3. The summit will not take place until the promises made by the Chinese Foreign Minister in meetings with the External Affairs Minister are fulfilled.

Read more: China-India Relations and India’s Weakening Geo-Political Position
Why Russia’s role as an honest broker of India-China talks must be scrutinised?

Even though India bought S-400 missile defence systems and improved its relations with Russia, the Russian role as a facilitator needs closer attention. This is because,

1. Russia and China have consolidated their support for each other in the face of U.S. concerns over Russian action against Ukraine and Chinese action on Taiwan, 2. Russia is deeply dependent on Chinese investment, 3. On Afghanistan talks, Russia has shown that it was prepared to cut India out of negotiations held by the Troika plus group with the U.S., China and Pakistan.

Must read: Recent developments in India-Russia Relations – Explained, pointwise
What India needs to do?

1. India must continue to balance its relations between Russia and the US, and its partners in Eurasia versus those in the Indo-Pacific, 2. India has to follow an independent path in foreign policy.

Read more: Why India Needs to Balance Relations with China, Russia and US?

Source: This post is based on the article “For an honest broker: On Russia and India-China ties” published in The Hindu on 18th December 2021.

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